'I want to share music. It's legit as that."
George Stroumboulopoulos, the motorcycle-riding media personality, has added a new title to his well-known curriculum vitae: Apple Music Curator.
It was announced on Thursday by Apple Music that the CBC Radio 2 host will bring House of Strombo, a 10-episode concert series he hosts from his downtown Toronto home, to the U.S.-based subscription service. Stroumboulopoulos will also provide exclusive playlists.
For Apple Music, the recruiting of Stroumboulopoulos gives the service a Canadian beachhead and a presence in Toronto, a musically thriving metropolis. For Stroumboulopoulos, the move provides the former MuchMusic VJ a measure of international exposure.
A spinoff of Stroumboulopoulos's Sunday-night radio broadcast The Strombo Show, the standalone House of Strombo will kick off today with a living-room performance by A Tribe Called Red, the Ottawa-based First Nations DJ collective. Produced by the American entertainment company Anonymous Content and Stroumboulopoulos's own Son House Productions, House of Strombo will also feature video segments, artist interviews and behind-the-scenes access.
"We needed a bigger distribution platform and a solid partner to present it," explained Stroumboulopoulos, en route to Los Angeles for an interview spot today on Zane Lowe's show on Apple Music's Internet radio station, Beats 1. "Apple seemed like the right fit."
Launched in June, 2015, Apple Music claims to have some 17 million paid users internationally. The service is available in over 100 countries with localized libraries and playlists in each.
Although Drake's "playlist" More Life did premiere on OVO Sound Radio on Beats 1, House of Strombo marks Apple Music's first regular presentation of Canadian content.
Not to be confused with Apple Records, Apple Music rests under the umbrella of Apple, Inc., the American tech-world titan. As such, Stroumboulopoulos's association with Apple represents a return to the lands of giants. He hosted a popular CBC television talk show from 2005 to 2014, but jobs with CNN (for the short-lived Stroumboulopoulos in 2013) and Rogers Media (as host of Hockey Night in Canada for two seasons) were less successful.
The 44-year-old Humber College graduate says he isn't worried about working within a behemoth, though. "I know these people, and I trust these people," he says of Apple Music.
And as for his experience with Rogers and HNIC, Stroumboulopoulos brushes off any insinuation his stint with the Saturday-night institution was a failure. "Maybe I'm the only person in the world who sees it this way, but I actually don't look at the hockey thing like it didn't work out," he says. "It was what it needed to be for the time that it was. And I actually liked that it was a show that I didn't have to run. I've done that a lot."
With Apple (as with CBC Radio 2), Stroumboulopoulos's mandate, as he explains it, is to expose new artists. "Part of what I do is music discovery," he says. "That's the thing that matters to me, and I have a lot of time for an organization that puts that much time into music."